Lack of sleep impacts health

George Sproul Opinion Editor

Sleep plays a vital role in our well-being. A good night’s sleep helps the body to recover and lets you wake up refreshed and rested to take on the day. Unfortunately, many people struggle to get the rest that they need. Insufficient sleep and poor quality sleep can be due to many reasons such as mental health, sleep disorders, and/or medical conditions. Sleep issues affect people of all ages, and its impacts are seen everywhere.

Why do we sleep? What makes our bodies know to wind down and relax? Why is that necessary for our lives? While the obvious answer is “it’s healthy,” the answer goes deeper. Sleep is like hunger. Both eating and sleeping are things we won’t appreciate as much, until we don’t have them, or at least quick access to them. Going without food produces, an uncomfortable feeling of hunger, while going sleepless can make us feel extremely exhausted, physically and mentally. And just as eating relieves hunger and ensures that we obtain the nutrients we need, sleeping helps us focus and ensures that we recharge in the way we need.

According to, In a normal sleep period, a person experiences 4 to 6 sleep cycles, generally being N1, N2, N3, N2, and REM. REM, as you may know, is when we are sleeping the deepest and have dreams. Body temperature during sleep drops by 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Studies show sleeping at a slightly cooler temperature helps calm your body down and relax you.

According to Harvard Medical School, “…the temperature of our body is controlled by mechanisms such as shivering, sweating, and changing blood flow to the skin, so that body temperature fluctuates minimally around a set level during wakefulness. Just before we fall asleep, our bodies begin to lose some heat to the environment, which some researchers believe actually helps to induce sleep.” 

Metabolism drops by around 15% during deep sleep. According to Insider, sleeping longer continues speeding up your metabolism, but oversleeping has the opposite effect. 

There are multiple things you can do to try to improve how you sleep.  Athletic Trainer Rick Nelson said that a good night’s sleep is based on consistency. 

“Consistent sleep is key. Wake up at the same time every morning, go to bed at the same time every night. That’s where a lot of teenagers struggle. Our bodies like routine,”  Nelson said.

Nelson said that blue light negatively affects our sleep, saying students shouldn’t be on their phone for at least 30 minutes before bed, and should consider sleeping with the in a different room to avoid temptation.

Lack of sleep can cause problems for students in school life. School nurse Kala Brown has seen this firsthand and recommends students get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

“Students are more likely to be short tempered, not engaged, and get sick with lack of sleep,” Brown said.

With today’s generation, wellness and our well-being are becoming much more prioritized. Sleep is a very crucial and important part of that well-being.